According to Candice Woodward, co-owner of the two operations, the new landlords have other plans. It’s tough to say what 1410 Broad Street will become, but since they’re not going to challenge CTV Vancouver Island (formerly known as A Channel before broadcasting giants took over), what that bit of street will become is unlikely going to be media related. All any long time residents of this city can hope for is that the Victoria Event Centre isn’t the next target.
What lays along Broad and Johnson are many shops catering to comic book, gamers, home video enthusiasts, and toy collectors. A few years ago, Yellowjacket Comics had to move because the building needed upgrades. It’s safe to say developers don’t have the interests of geeks in mind and Nerd Row will eventually get demolished. It’s safe to say Legends Comics and Books is next.
Nobody can ever know about the possible discoveries to be found at Cherry Bomb Toys’ Ultimate Toy Fair. Instead of a one-day event, it is now two. At least a third of the space was occupied by local shops with items from their vaults and the rest are from either long-time collectors or hobby enthusiasts’ massive collections. Had I spent more careful time on Saturday, I might have spotted the set of miniatures from Dark Crystal the Movie! This product from 1982 was from Pinnacle.
In past shows, I acquired the Orguss from the Super Dimension Century series of the same time. It’s missing the gun, and in due time, I will have the CAD design skills to create and 3D print the replacement part. I even found an Invid once; I passed on it because it was very battle damaged. The thrill of the hunt for random goodness defines why I continue going. The fact it’s a weekend event now had me curious and I had to explore the possibility of what I could find when not everyone will be vending for both days.
Four years ago, Cherry Bomb Toys started The Nerdy Days of Christmas Craft Fair to help holiday shoppers in Victoria, BC to find something unique for those hard to shop for geeks in the family. This event has certainly grown. As for what will happen for year five, a milestone, only time and what the organizers have in mind to celebrate will tell. This event continues through to Sunday, Dec 3rd until 4pm.
Market Square is hosting and they provided two spaces to spread the fun. When considering how brisk the weather can get in this city at this time of year, being indoors is preferable. Approximately 25 vendors will be present, spread out between the two days and the two spaces. There’s even a silent auction with a pair of comic books I was very tempted to bid on.
The vendors were in one room and the area is easy to travel. Long time residents of this city will like the fact this unit was where the comic book store Island Fantasy once operated from. The variety even included leathercraft, unique pieces of jewelry and sadly no Cthulhu. Pokemon related goods were in abundance, and I was amused to hear from one craftsperson that she should have considered including Zelda related merchandise. I was wearing a toque with the Tri-force Bird logo emblazoned on it.
“I think our reputation with our Ultimate Toy Fair proves that we can do it,” revealed Biagio and Candice Woodward. “We’re on show twenty (of year ten) and we’re constantly learning. We listen to our vendors, we listen to our crowd and that’s the key. If you don’t then you’re going to miss important things.”
I have attended many pop culture style conventions in the past 25 or so years. Some took place in my home town of Victoria, British Columbia but more off island. I am sad not many local shows have a footprint of lasting more than five years. Attempts have been made to centralize all aspects of geekdom, but to pull it off needs a proper committee of dedicated folks. I’m aware most of the businesses along Nerd Row (on Johnson Street and Broad) are in communication with one another, but this community was not in place till the early part of this century.
In terms of history, a major comic book type event (which was a one-off) took place at the Empress Hotel in the late 80’s which had a who’s who of talent (from New York even), which Big Brothers and Big Sisters organized — my introduction to the scene — but since then, everything else which followed never compared. Van Isle Con is a step in the right direction, and although a short commute is required to get there, I’m wondering what’s next? Are there individuals willing to make something happen within the capital city?